Chamberlain Trail

I celebrate two years of documenting my hikes by returning to Circle X Ranch where it all began.  This time I didn’t connect with the Mishe Mokwa Trail and complete the loop with the Backbone Trail.  Instead I continued on the Backbone toward Point Mugu on Chamberlain Trail to it’s end and the junction with Old Boney Trail.  The weather was perfect, mostly sunny but not too bright or warm.  Looking back now it’s hard to believe, for such a popular spot, I didn’t see a single person on the trail today, not even from a distance.  I spent 12 hours wandering among massive rocks and boulders and encountering awesome views too big to be taken whole by either eye or camera.  Inspiring day.

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I started out around 6 a.m.

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7   Incredible, early morning orange glow

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Echo Cliffs and Balanced Rock


Balanced Rock on extreme zoom

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15     After climbing for around two miles I arrived at the stairs leading up to Sandstone Peak, highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains.  After a bit of scrambling I reached the plaque at the top.

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Turning in a circle from starting in the east and going west.


I spot Conejo Mountain which I hiked less than a month ago.

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Checking out a few interesting rocks from Sandstone Peak.  While here I took time to remember lost friends.

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27   I continued on the trail.  I recognized many of these boulders from previous hikes here.  Very comforting.

28     29   Another short spur trail leads out to more views from Inspiration Point.

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Photo 1 – To the left, that high point is Sandstone Peak.  Photo 2 – Closer to the left – Boney Point  Photo 4 – To the right – Exchange Peak

34     35     36   From the main loop I took the trail to Tri-peaks and then on to Chamberlain Trail.  The trails are well signed.  The amazing rock formations continued to appear.  Photo 3 – I noticed climbing anchors embedded in one of the boulders.

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40   The trail turns a corner at the top of Boney Ridge and begins downhill for several miles.  Sadly, although the view of the ridge should be outstanding, there is thick brush about ten feet high blocking that view.  There are just a couple of open spots to capture the scene.

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Straight ahead is Point Mugu State Park.  Photo 2 shows the military satellite dish on the hills above the park.

43Huge views from Chamberlain Trail

44     45   I spy the abandoned Serrano home site I visited a year and a half ago on my Serrano Valley hike.  Photo 2 shows the ruins of the site on zoom.

46   Like Mishe Mokwa Trail, Chamberlain Trail has it’s own split rock.


Chamberlain Trail’s Split Rock

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I guess you could squeeze through the crack if you’re skinny enough.  Photo 4 – Top of Boney Ridge from Chamberlain Trail’s Split Rock.

52    53   There was a little damage on the trail from the big Point Mugu fire, but not too much.  In photo 2 you can see how the fire swept up to the top of this ridge on the right, and then fizzled out, sparing the left.

54   I reach the junction with Old Boney Trail.  This rock was a good place to sit down (the only spot, actually), eat lunch and take in the views.


Looking up at Boney Mountain from the Chamberlain – Old Boney Trail junction.

56     57     58   On my way back up the mountain I passed a huge lizard sitting next to the trail.  I like his red stripes.  I don’t usually see that.  I then passed Split Rock again, going in the opposite direction.

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61   I read that the native people from this area considered Boney Mountain a sacred place.  Looking at it close up and from a distance, I can understand how a primitive person would get the impression that there is a powerful force at play here.


Face of the Old God

63   Another interesting rock that looks like a clamshell.



It’s difficult to tell if the size of these boulders translates in these photos.  They’re massive.

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Photo 4 – Body of water below, somewhere in Westlake Village I presume.

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After my hike I drove down Pacific Coast Highway to the beach at County Line just in time to see this lovely, golden sunset.  Grateful for another wonderful year of hiking.

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